CLARKESVILLE – Clarkesville officials said Monday they need to learn more about the provisions of new Georgia alcohol legislation before deciding whether the city should opt out of House Bill 879 that includes, among other things, home delivery of alcohol.
As with the “Brunch Bill” passed in 2018, leaders of municipalities like Clarkesville can decide whether they want to opt out on the new alcohol delivery legislation, council members learned during their meeting Monday night.
House Bill 879 allows beer, wine, and liquor to be delivered to homes from restaurants, bars, convenience stores, and grocery stores.
But it was not specifically the delivery requirements that concerned Clarkesville officials. Rather, it was how the law provides for alcohol sampling and tastings of any malt beverage, wine, or distilled spirits to be held on the premises of package licensees.
“It allows package dealers of beer and wine and distilled spirits to allow sampling of their wares in the business,” said City Attorney Janney Sanders. “What’s really interesting about that is that it can’t take place in a public part of the business. It must take place in an office, a storage room – the back room basically. The same thing for tastings.”
That wording concerned Clarkesville City Manager Keith Dickerson and several city council members.
“I don’t like the idea that you can have tasting rooms in the back room,” Dickerson said. “It’s kind of interesting, but it just feels a little shady.”
House Bill 879 was signed into law by Gov. Brian Kemp on Aug. 3, amending state laws governing five categories of alcohol regulation: centralized permitting, Sunday sales of alcohol, home delivery of alcohol, local control of distance requirements, and pouring events at package stores.
The new law also requires that on or before Jan. 1, 2021, the State Department of Revenue set up a statewide, centralized permitting system to streamline alcohol permitting.